By Kathy L. Collins

The Annual Winthrop Arts Festival has become the greater Brandon area’s premiere fine arts festival. The Sixth Annual Winthrop Arts Festival was held over the weekend of Saturday, March 22 and Sunday, March 23. Over 5,000 people enjoyed the fabulous Florida weather and attended this year’s event.

Each year the festival grows. This year there were 85 vendors, artists and fine crafters. This year’s festival was held in the newly constructed Founders’ Park in Winthrop Town Centre. Festival organizer and Winthrop Town Artist, Bryant Martinez said, “It was wonderful. The location is the best. Art in the park. I love it.”

The art show portion of the festival was judged by local artist and long time member of the Eastern Hillsborough Art Guild, Debra Bryant and John Hardin, a Humanities professor at Hillsborough Community College, Brandon campus.

Best in Show went to Fred Rothenbush, an oil painter from Ruskin. First Place went to James Loftus and his repurposed art. Second Place was awarded to Leland Williams, a Nature/Environmental Artist. Third Place was given to Diana Rast, a bead artist. Honorable Mentions went to William Hunter, Crystalline Art Pottery; Diane Stover, Palette Knife Paintings; and Don Korte, Pen Art and Pet Portraits.

In addition to visual art, there were music performances by some upcoming local bands plus performances by the Brandon Ballet and Hillsborough Community College dancers. The Winthrop Charter School showed its talent with a group guitar performance. Students and teachers from Blake High School and Winthrop Charter were on hand doing face painting and showing off student work.

The Winthrop Arts Festival is about more than just art. It is a celebration of all that is great about the greater Brandon community. As a testament to this community, the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue came to the festival with its fire truck and gear and manned a children’s safety training area. ECHO and the Winthrop Community Garden, which supplies ECHO with a lot of the fresh produce that is given to its clients, were both involved.

The Seventh Annual Winthrop Arts Festival is set for Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, 2015. For more information, visit


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